Kennet and Avon canal
Walks following the canal path Wiltshire and West Berkshire.Reading - Theale
Theale - Aldermaston Wharf
Aldermaston Wharf - Brimpton
Brimpton - Newbury
Newbury - Marsh Benham
Marsh Benham - Kintbury
Hungerford - Froxfield
Froxfield - Great Bedwyn
Great Bedwyn - Durley
Durley - Wootton Rivers
Wootton Rivers - Fyfield
Fyfield - Pewsey
Full sun mitigated by a strong cool breeze made another walk possible this week. I went to an area that I hoped would give some good distant views as the air was clear. I chose to link up with a walk in Savernake Forest I did last October. Here is a map of the 12 mile walk:
View Wooton Rivers - Oare in a larger map
Wootton Rivers has an attractive church in the local style.
The stiff breeze kept butterflies and moths clinging to the vegetation and not flying around. I saw some burnet moths but only caught one reasonable shot of this cinnabar moth (Tyria jacobaeae) hiding away behind a large leaf.
There were many flowers of which I have already posted pictures. Attractive and fragrant were roses, and I think this could be a Dog Rose (Rosa canina)
Sometimes the common names given to plants do make sense once you see them. This Bird's-foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) with the flowers gone and seed-pods just developing fully justifies the name.
Red campion (Silene dioica) was widespread.
... and Buttercups of course.
A reminder that this is deep in rural Wiltshire where old customs are still in evidence was this grim discovery. The farmer seems to have hung (or should that be hanged) a crow to act as a lesson to other crows.
I had been hoping to see some orchids on this walk, and indeed I came across a good patch of them, just where I thought would be the best chance of seeing them. They were 'Common' Spotted Orchids (Dactylorhiza fuchsii).
The view from Martinsell Hill to the west is particularly good, where the edge of the chalk down land forms the northern boundary of the Vale.
Many of the houses were thatched; indeed I saw two houses in the process of being re-thatched, good weather for it. This duck is made of thatch and may be an emblem of a particular thatcher.
I visited three churches on the walk (14 miles), of these the small chapel at Huish was an attractive one. Rebuilt by the Victorians but some elements of thirteenth century version still preserved.
One of the surprising flowers to view up close is that of the humble curled dock (Rumex crispus)
The village of Oare, is ruined by the busy A road that passes through it. Oare House, possibly it was originally the vicarage, is a spectacular Georgian edifice. The only awe-inspiring spectacle though!
The walk back through farmland gave good views back up to the chalk downs I had been walking along a few hours before.
The final portion of the walk was along the tow path of the Kennet and Avon canal. One of only a few events of interest was a wren taking its family of new fledglings out foraging. At the edge of the canal bank were yellow flag irises (Iris pseudacorus).